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I’m just back from a wonderful holiday in Marbella and feel refreshed, relaxed and renewed! That won’t last long 🙂 We stayed in a beautiful place, a bit off the beaten track and the weather was just amazing. However, one big disappointment for me was the standard of the beaches in the local area. What a let down. Our nearest beach had dirty grey sand, was very grubby and in dire need of some TLC. Thankfully we had 5 pools in our complex so the beach didn’t have to be a factor, but coming from the wilds of Donegal we do like our little bit of sand walking (especially when the sun’s shining, blimey we don’t get much of that in this neck of the woods). Just before I left for my hols I was working on a website for a wonderful place call The Red Door. Now if you want to see spectacular views and beaches, you should go see this place! We did the photography on the hottest day that Inishowen has seen in a long time and the photographer was in a helicopter to do the aerial shots.
People sat outside having Afternoon Tea and glasses of chilled white wine whilst admiring the vast views of the sea and golden beaches. I’m telling you – it beat Marbella hands down! The restaurant is amazing, the accommodation is luxurious and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. You can tell that I like the place! Anyway, it was a joy to work on and a beautiful place to photograph. Marbella beaches? Naw, give me Inishowen any day of the week.
When I was living in London I remember watching a documentary about a girl who had emigrated to New York, spent 10 years there and then went back to her hometown in Scotland to set up a design studio. It showed her walking along the beach with her dog, splashing about happily and she admitted that she had never imagined she would be fortunate enough to be in this position. A great life and a job she loved. I watched it at a time when I was commuting 2 hours each way morning and night. I had a job that I loved and financially I could do pretty much anything I wanted. But when I watched that documentary I thought “I want to be on that beach, splashing in the waves”. Growing up in a beautiful seaside town in Donegal I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it. Faraway hills looked greener etc etc. But after over 14 years of living away from it all I realised the time had come to go back.
I’m working on a tourism project at the moment promoting the local area and am fortunate enough to have photographers providing beautiful images for the project. When I look at these photos I realise what an amazing place I live in and how much I missed this when I was away from it. Recession or no recession, Donegal is the place to be! I was on the beach the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that my life is now very similar to that girl in the documentary. Funny how things work out. So I just splashed a bit more in the waves and enjoyed every minute of it.
Photographs courtesy of Danny Bradley (top photo) and David Porter (above) of Buncrana Camera Club.
I really love when I meet a client who knows exactly what they want and they are good at communicating this need. This makes a designer’s job so much easier. Within minutes of meeting Mary Margaret Grant of Westbrook House I knew that she would be great to work with as she has so much experience in the tourism industry and she had a clear idea of what she’s looking for in her website and branding. She also understood that to maximise the beauty of her property and business that customised photography was a must. And boy was it worth it. Mary Margaret and Willie Grant own a very beautiful Georgian house in Buncrana, Inishowen which they run as a 4* B&B. The photos on the site show you the lovely interiors and gardens of the house but to experience their great hospitality though you’ll have to visit it for yourselves. I asked Mary Margaret if I could put a few excerpts from her guest books onto the site but there are so many fantastic comments that it would take me a year to put them on. And well deserved they are too.
If there’s one thing I love it’s seeing people who are ambitious and ready for a challenge. Setting up a new business during these turbulent times is certainly a challenge but at the same time it’s a great time to do it. I recently met a girl who has done just that and she has great ambitions for where she wants this business to go. Her name is Martina Doherty and she has started a business called ‘Inish Lettings‘, which is a property letting and management business specialising in property rentals in Buncrana, Carndonagh and all over Inishowen. It makes good commercial sense when you think about it. At the moment people are not buying property, they are sitting tight and waiting for the storm to pass (god help us all in Ireland, it could take many’s a year for that to happen!). In the meantime they need places to live and so the rental market is booming. As well as that, because of the growth in emigration, there is more property to let. And of course there are all of those empty developer properties which are crying out for tenants. So it is essentially a win win situation.
Martina is a very committed and talented individual and I have no doubt that she is going to do well. I’ve recently done her branding and website and she was great to work with. The website is on a wordpress platform so it is easy for Martina to update herself. WordPress is such an intuitive CMS system and it is getting better all the time. Its ideal for those who want great looking, extremely useable websites that they can do updates on without breaking the bank. And in terms of search engine optimisation they can be fine tuned to be extremely effective.
I do love it when someone says “and make it look fun”. Fun is great. I love using colour and images or illustration that make people feel happy because there is way too much misery in the world at the moment.
I worked on this branding and website project a while back for a leading inflatables company in Mayo and it is very much aimed at children. Lets face it, a parent may check a website to see what to book for a child’s birthday but it is the child who will ultimately choose the product, so it has to be attractive to them.
Of course the products are also amazing for grown up parties also. Although stiletto heels are not advisable so might be best to leave the Manolo Blahniks at home that day 🙂